Kunoichi

The Yakuza King

As far as clichés went, Yori had to admit the room had a certain ambiance that bespoke of irony. Here she was, a highly trained ninja captured, tied up, removed of her gear, separated from her companions and with no way of communicating with the outside world; and yet shackled by her hands, ankles, waist and gagged. How did she come from infiltrating a highly-secure modern sky rise to being incarcerated inside an underground box of stone walls, concrete floor, and a blazingly hot lamp that hung from a razor-thin wire?

They placed her underneath the lamp on purpose to make her uncomfortable. Her head felt like a grill, and she so wanted to take a shower at the moment. As it was, her captors had removed all her clothes save for her undergarments, which meant Yori's exposed skin glistened with sweat. Her white tank top was soaked around the collar and she felt slimy all over.

As if this humiliation were not enough, being strapped to a chair in her underwear made her tanned skin turn a shade of copper. The men who patted her down removed any and all devices on her person, leaving her in the very sense of the word, naked. While they allowed her to retain some of her dignity by not disrobing her altogether, Yori was patted down in a few places longer than a cavity search would allow.

She wondered if Hirotaka had to suffer through the same indignity. Hardly. They were men afterall. Then again, just because they were gangsters did not mean there weren't a few members of the other team filling their ranks. Japan was more tolerant of homosexuals than most other countries and organizations such as this encouraged brotherhood between its members. Sometimes, that relationship went beyond watching each other's back. Yori wasn't sure if she should feel sorry for Hirotaka or just ask him about it later. Knowing him, he'd avert the subject.

Of course that was assuming there would be a later. Yori tried to be optimistic even in the worst of times, but she had never been captured like this before. Sure there had been that time with Fukushima in the cage. She'd been captured along with Team Possible once by the bizarre geneticist DNAmy, a.k.a Gorilla Fist. Then there was the time she and Possible-san were tied together by Monkey Fist who forced them to obtain a sacred gem over a lava lake.

Now that she thought about it, Yori was not that good of a ninja if she was caught so many times by her enemies. She still had much to learn. But at least her former captors had the manners to allow her to keep her clothes on.

As sweat permeated every one of her extremities, Yori found herself wondering what had become of Hoshi. Upon their surrender, which was the only logical choice given their predicament, Yori watched her friends being taken away from her. Hiro they had to knock out being the strongest of the three – a swift butt to the back of the head did the trick. Hoshi left willingly though she gave Yori a strange look. She was surprised that Hoshi went along without a fuss; past experience had shown she was not the docile type, but it was the look Yori remembered most. It seemed as if she was pleading with Yori. But for what?

Hoshi was an attractive girl. One could only imagine what they were doing to her right now. At least Saito gave Yori an air of protection around her. Hoshi had no such shield. Were she and Hirotaka imprisoned somewhere in this complex? Were they alright? Were they even alive? What had become of her friends?

A clang on the heavy door saw it swing open. A man, clearly a Yakuza by his black suit and shades, stepped in. He looked Yori once over before stepping aside and bowing. There, in the doorway, was Saito. Before she was taken, Yori was unable to get a good look of the man. That all changed. Clearly he was a leader of men by the way he stood, walked, and even spoke. Wearing a long, black coat that went down to his knees, Saito strode in closer to the light. His shoes alone were a testament to his riches – Italian leather? – and clicked loudly as he walked in. "Good morning," he said as he stopped before her, placing both hands on a cane with a golden hilt at the top.

Morning? Had she been down here that long? Yori lost track of time. He could be lying just to throw her off guard but something about Saito told her he wasn't the fibbing type. Nothing was more unnerving than an enemy who only spoke the truth because it means they are firmly secure in their victory.

"How are you feeling?"

"Where are my friends?" She asked, skipping over the pleasantries.

"They are unharmed. Suffice it to say, they are pretty much in the same predicament you are." Saito had been wearing a tall brown hat, which he removed and casually held it aloft where his subordinate quickly took it. "Leave us," he commanded. The gangster bowed and left the room. Yori clenched her teeth as the loud squeaking of the door rang out. It closed with a groan.

Looking up at Saito now, Yori could see the man was well-shaven. A strong cologne permeated the air that made Yori gag. It wasn't that it stank but being in a hot room with little oxygen left her wanting for fresh air. Having Saito so close to her only made it harder to breath. It also made her feel lightheaded, though that could be the lamp cooking her brain. An effective way to prepare someone for interrogation if she ever saw one.

Saito's hair was very short, almost to the skull, leaving the impression of having it painted. His eyes were thick, dark pools making him look demonic. He had high cheek bones but a thin pair of lips below a well-rounded nose. Wrinkles lined his cheeks and forehead, giving Yori the impression he was in his mid to late fifties. But what she found most imposing was his height. Saito was well over six feet tall, huge even by Western standards. Even under the coat, Yori could make out the imprints of a finely-toned body. Saito excreted strength in every manner and she could see how he became the head of the Yakuza.

That still didn't change the fact that she disliked this man very much. "Well," He raised his hand in regards to their environs. "Here we are."

"And where is that exactly?"

"No place you need concern yourself with." He began to walk around her. "I'm sorry if my men were too harsh with you earlier. Their discipline can wane in the presence of a woman such as yourself."

"Meaning?"

"Look at you. You're beautiful, Yori. Just like your mother."

Oh I will not be baited so easily. Yori remained silent, waiting for the moment when Saito should reveal something he shouldn't. A ninja bides her time before making the kill.

"You and she are alike in almost every way. When I look at you now I see her fire, her strength and her courage. She was a proud woman. Few men could match her steel. When I first saw her," he sighed. "I asked myself how such a beautiful flower can have been born into our dark world." He stopped just behind her. "Until, that is, I discovered then even the loveliest of flowers have their thorns."

Yori still listened, though an ear perked up.

"Her father, Fujimori, was once the most respected man in our organization. Even his greatest enemies tipped their head when he entered a room. His exploits were legendary even before I joined the fray. Word has it that Fujimori once saved Japan from disaster. I myself was skeptical until I met him. The power emanating from this man would make me follow him to the ends of the earth. From that moment on I pledged myself entirely to his service and to the service of the clan. I promised myself that one day I would be like Fujimori, the greatest Yakuza to have ever lived."

"Seems you got your wish," Yori responded indifferently.

"Not just yet." And with that, Saito began pacing again. "You see as I worked my way up the ranks, I gradually began to discover many secrets about my supposed idol. To say he had a shady past is an understatement. Turns out your grandfather had dealings with the most despicable individuals."

"I'm sure you can say the same."

"True." Saito bent over so that he could whisper into Yori's ear. "But I never made pacts with demons." Standing up straight, Saito watched as Yori leered up at him. He could tell she did not believe him.

"Do you think I'm a fool, Saito? That I'm some child you can intimidate with your insane stories?"

"Years ago I never would have believed it myself." He went back to pacing. "But one day I had the opportunity to meet with one of his associates. Turns out even Fujimori had those he need answer to. Those people were the Youma."

Yori had to physically keep herself from snickering. The Youma, Japanese demons, were malicious creatures said to have preyed upon men in old times. While most Japanese still adhered to the spiritual worship of their ancestors, only the most superstitious still believed the Youma truly exist. Much in the way a modern Christian would use the name of his lord in vain when his commandments expressly forbade such action, no one took these things that seriously anymore. Yori, like all children of her country, were raised on the stories of heroic warriors and good-natured spirits battling Youma – and winning of course. Yori would chant to ward off evil spirits same as anyone else…but Youma?

"I can sense you mocking me, Yori-san," Saito said as he completed another round around her chair. "But the fact remains. Fujimori had joined forces with those evil spirits. That is how he was able to ascend to his position in the first place. He also had their protection which meant no one could lay a hand on him."

"Then why didn't they protect him from you?"

Saito smiled. "Fujimori crossed the line. He'd grown arrogant, thinking he could harness the power of the demons at his whim without paying the consequences."

"I don't believe you."

"If that is your wish." He dismissed her retort. Saito studied her from a distance. She really was a stunning young woman. Seeing her now, scantily-clad and her skin glistening with sweat, made him wish he could reclaim his youth just once more. But he pushed back such thoughts. Saito was a man always in control – even of his own feelings.

"When he realized he no longer had the support of his demonic agents, Fujimori fought us tooth and nail. He failed. After a brief but violent civil war, the new order which included myself triumphed over the old. Fujimori's days were numbered. But he had one last trump card to play."

Despite all she had heard, Yori kept quiet and listened. The more he talked, the more time she had to think of an escape. He was already divulging a great deal of information that could prove useful. The questioned remained: why?

"He made one final pact with the demons: a blood pact. Once made, it cannot be broken. It was that pact that saved your mother and in essence yourself, Yori. As part of the agreement, no harm could befall Yuriko so long as Fujimori was alive. But that was only part of the deal. You see, your grandfather had tied his fate with his daughter's. In short, that meant the same rules applied to Fujimori. His daughter who was many years his junior, ensured he would live for a very long time. Enough time perhaps to find a way to free himself from his demonic thralls once and for all." At this Saito laughed. "Your grandfather was nothing if not bold. Once he had something he would never let it go even if Death itself came to collect."

"I do not care about Fujimori. I came here to rescue my father. I want to see him."

Saito stepped in front of her and kneeled down. "You should care, Yori. For you see your grandfather's actions that day are what brought you here in the first place."

"I'm here to…"

"Rescue your father. So you say. But have you asked yourself what kind of man he truly is? How do you feel about him leaving you and your brothers alone while he went off to wage his one-man war? Does that sound like the actions of an honorable man? A father?"

"He did it to protect us from you."

"He did it to protect the secret," Saito countered. "The secret he pledged to keep with Fujimori. Think on it a moment. What father would willingly place his progeny at risk just to keep a secret? When I sent my men for Kenji, all I wanted was some information. Seeing as how Fujimori had passed on, I would think Kenji's archaic sense of loyalty would give way to reason. But your father was always a stubborn man. That much had never changed."

"There was a reason the Youma pledged their services to Fujimori in the first place and only Yuriko knew what that was. Fujimori gave them his blessing in her marriage not because he was happy that she found someone, but because he wanted his asset to be protected by the only man he could trust, your father. All these years Yuriko thought she had found a husband when really he was only a bodyguard. Love." Saito spat. "Your grandfather was a heartless man. How else could he become the leader of the most powerful crime syndicate in all of Japan?"

"As I told you before, I do not care about my grandfather. If he was an evil man then he got what he deserved." Yori's voice was rather cold which seemed to stifle the Yakuza kingpin. In those words, he heard Fujimori speaking from the grave. Who'd of thought his spiteful spirit would carry on into his beautiful granddaughter?

"You and he are more alike than you think, Yori-chan." He added that as a term of endearment though Yori's eyes showed no signs of softening. "Both of you have always been magnets for power."

She turned away abruptly.

"Don't believe me? Consider this." He leaned in close. "Kozoburo Sensei, arguably the finest ninja of the present age, takes you in as one of his students. He takes explicit interest in your upbringing, training you to become the next master of the school. With the skills you learn at Yamanouchi combined with your own natural talents, I daresay you could even surpass him. Perhaps he saw something more in you than just a gifted student which is why he pushed you harder than the rest. Tell me, Yori, have people ever questioned his personal attachment to you?"

Her mind drifted back to a discussion she had with Hirotaka at the dojo.

"While I have nothing but respect for our master, I think he goes easy on you."

"Oh?"

"Afterall, you are like a daughter to him. He is very protective of you."

"I'll bet they have," Saito continued. "Years later two masters of Tai Shing Pek Kwar arrive at your doorstep at roughly the same time. One of them turns out to be the wielder of the Lotus Blade, a powerful weapon which you helped retrieve when it was stolen from the sanctuary at Yamanouchi. It also turns out that when he is away, guardianship of the blade falls to you, Sensei's top student."

Yori looked at him hesitantly, as if his face had suddenly become to hot to stare into directly.

"Then there's little Hana. Here is a child destined to protect the world and it was you who found her. Do you recall?"

Yori did. Sensei had sent her on a mission to recover Little Han months ago. She felt an instant connection with that baby the moment they met, but Yori always thought it was her motherly instinct kicking in. Yori was considered mother hen to the young students at Yamanouchi and she did love children. True Hana was special, but Sensei assigned her training and protection to Stoppable-san…and yet somehow, Hana always managed to come back to her despite being on the other side of the world.

"And let's not forget the Yono. It seems no matter how hard you try, Yori, power will always come to you when you least suspect it. That is what happened with Fujimori. He began as a wandering monk trying to make the world a better place. Instead, the world tossed him to the wolves and forced him to become the very thing he fought so hard against. Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Power forced upon a person is the most destructive of all."

"How do you know all this? About Hana? Sensei? Yamanouchi? Kim Possible and Stoppable-san? How could you?"

Saito shrugged his broad shoulders, pursing his lips as he did so. "Just an insider's tip is all." He stood back up. "Even ninja can be spied upon."

Yori's expression was blatantly clear: Impossible! Could the Yakuza have an agent inside the school? Could he or she be feeding Saito information, telling him about all the events which have transpired? If this is true, Saito could very well have been watching Yori her whole life! The invasion into her personal life sent her anger boiling on end. "How long have you been spying on us?"

"Not long," Saito said and meant it. But that means…

"It's one of the students isn't it?"

"That information is confidential. But you're not that far from the truth."

Saito was toying with her and this only made her even angrier. "Very well," she said while trying to remain calm. "If you won't tell me who the spy is then at least tell me why you never attempted to capture me before now?"

"I should think it obvious. Why should the spider go to the fly when a piece of fruit is all it takes to have the fly come to the spider?"

"My father," Yori stated.

"I leaked out information that Kenji was alive and knew that would be enough to entice you to enter my web, so to speak. Besides, had I kidnapped you by force it meant I would have to face the formidable resources of Yamanouchi and its allies. Master Sensei would stop at nothing to get you back. However, if you were captured on a mission…well then that's part of what being a ninja is all about. You trespassed on private property and were caught in the act. For shame, Yori."

She glared at him.

"But what matters is that now you are here and this means we can help each other."

"I will never help you."

"Be reasonable, Yori. I'm offering you the chance your parents never had; the chance to return to a peaceful life without Yakuza interference. Help settle this little matter for me and you can consider our relationship terminated. I promise you. You will never see me or any of my associates ever again for as long as you live. Sounds like a reasonable offer if you ask me."

"Something tells me I do not have a choice in the matter."

"Oh you have a choice. Two in fact. You either help me get what I want and we go our separate ways; or, you retain your family's stubborn streak and we do this the hard way in which case you never see your friends again or meet with your father. The choice is yours."

"Yamanouchi will come looking for us. How long can you expect to keep us here before Master Sensei comes?"

"Long enough to have you do what I want." A hard edge filled Saito's voice as he stood behind Yori. Placing strong, callused hands on her bare shoulders, he playfully stroked her skin with his pinkies. "I mean you no harm, Yori. I wish you could see that. All I want is for you to find that little piece of information your mother took with her to her untimely grave. Do that for me and I promise you I will leave you alone forever." His grip tightened all of a sudden and Yori winced. "I can make things very unpleasant for you, Yori. I don't want to do it but I will if you force me to. I can be a kind man but only when my patience is not tried. You have a chance to put an end to this legacy once and for all. I suggest think on that while I got attend to other business."

Releasing her, Saito headed for the door. "Think about it. But not too long. When I return I expect you to be in a more cooperative mood." He called for the guard and the door opened; the gangster immediately relinquishing the hat his master had given him to hold.

"Saito!" Yori called out to him and he stopped. "There is something I do not understand. "If my mother and grandfather were bound by the same principles of the blood pact, how is that she died? If what you say is true then Fujimori must have perished. But the how else could that have happened if he was under protection?"

Smiling, Saito turned back to Yori. "He was protected from outside threats, little one. But as we all learn, as you now have, it is the inside threats that are most dangerous."

Yori shook her head in confusion. "I…do not understand."

"It's quite simple, Yori." Saito put on his hat, swung his cane and turned right. "He took his own life." The door clanged shut.


Hirotaka awoke with a splitting pain at the back of his head. Rubbing it now, his mind flashed with a quick recollection of previous events. They were taken prisoner by Saito, the head of the Japanese Mafia. What's worse, the three ninja surrendered without a fight. It was a stain upon their honor to have done nothing while their enemies surrounded and overpowered them with restraints. Hiro tried to fight them off but somebody hit him from behind and he was out like a light. Next thing he knew, he woke up in a cement-covered room with a dangling lamp.

And he was in his underwear.

Picking himself up from the floor, Hirotaka took a look around. He was alone; Yori and Hoshi were nowhere to be seen. His mind burned not from the pain but the shame he felt upon being taken so easily. Granted they were covered by an enemy in a superior position who had the advantage of men and firepower. Granted they had fallen into a carefully laid trap. Granted they had no way of knowing just how many men they would have to fight or what their capabilities were. But still…the Code of Bushido demands they put up some sort of struggle. Not to do so would bring dishonor on themselves and Yamanouchi.

Frustrated, Hirotaka punched the iron door. "Cowards! Let me out!" He cried. "This time you will not have it so easy. Open the door and let us settle this as warriors." There was no answer. His punched the door again. "Do you hear me? I said let me out!" Another punch. And another. The room was filled with a symphony of cracking knuckles against stone-cold iron.

"Hiro-chan!" A voice called him.

Ceasing all attempts at breaking out, of which his fingers were all too relieved, Hiro turned toward the sound of the voice. Hiro touched his ear to the nearby wall and listened. "Is someone there?"

"No you're just hearing things!"

He pulled back. "Hoshi?"

"Doi!"

"Is Yori in there with you?"

"No she isn't. I'm fine. Thanks for asking."

"How long have I been out?"

"Well if my cycle's about right, three months. How the hell should I know? I've been staring at the ceiling for hours!"

Hiro groaned. "Do you at least have any of your equipment?" He asked though he pretty much knew the answer.

"Oh my equipment's still here."

His eyes widened. "It is? They didn't take it away from you?"

"Be pretty hard to take this tool of the trade with them. Though I think the taller one wanted to take me, though."

"Take you? Take you where?"

"A place no girl should have to go against her will."

"What are you…" Hiro stopped. "Hoshi…are you in your underwear?"

"If you ask me what color I swear I'll scream."

"Damn!" Hirotaka cursed. "They took everything. Now we're stranded and we have no idea where Yori is."

"I'm guessing she's with Saito." He heard Hoshi suggest. "Though I think in far better accommodations."

"We have to get out of here, Hoshi."

"Hey I'm all for it. But unless those bulging muscles of yours are more than just show I don't see how."

Hiro looked down at his knuckles which were bruised red. Once he criticized comics for their unrealistic portrayal of warriors. Now he'd give anything for a bit of super human strength or the ability to manipulate earth.

"You still there?" Hoshi asked after a period of silence. "Hello!"

"I'm still here. It isn't as if I'm going anywhere." Hiro slumped up against the wall and slid down to a sitting position. He could not believe this was happening. Yori could be in great danger and he wasn't there to help her. He promised he would take care of her. Yori would retort by saying she could look after herself, but Hiro wasn't thinking it as a macho impulse to protect a female, but as a concern to his dearest friend. He wished Yori was here right now if only he could speak to her and hear her voice.

"Hiroooooo," Hoshi's voice playfully sang. "Hiro!"

"What?"

"Watcha doin'."

"I'm sulking, now leave me alone."

"Aw. Don't be so pouty. I can keep you company."

"You think this is funny? We are prisoners of the Yakuza. These men are killers. Yori is heaven knows where and we're stuck with no way of helping her. This is not time to make light of our situation."

"Actually it's the perfect time."

"How do you explain that?"

"When the chips are down, it's important to keep an upbeat attitude. Otherwise depression settles in and you'll never dig yourself out of the hole you're in."

"Sweet metaphors are not going to help us get out of here, Hoshi."

"Battles are won in the mind first. Didn't they teach you that at Yamanouchi?"

"They taught me to never surrender without a fight which is exactly what we did."

"So you'd rather fight a hopeless battle than give up and live to fight another day."

"It is the Way of the Warrior."

"Way of the Retard is more I like it. Wasting one's life by fighting a winless battle is a sure-fire way to lose. Don't you read history books? Our country got its ass kicked because we thought we could beat everyone with sheer gusto, a hard head, and a lot of screaming. That didn't do us any good and it nearly cost us everything."

"It is part of our national identity. Japanese do not give in without a fight."

"Isn't part of being a samurai or a ninja or whatever knowing when to fight? If we did fight Saito's goons back then, we'd have all been killed. Then what good would we have been for Yori's dad? He'd still be trapped, we'd be ghosts, and no one would ever remember the heroic last stand of three young ninja who went down in a hail of bullets. Thing is, our deaths wouldn't amount to anything because we don't exist. We're shadow warriors. We don't fight like samurai because we aren't samurai."

"The principles are still the same."

"What use is a principle if it gets you killed? Geez, Hiro! Stop mopping! It's embarrassing you and me."

Hiro scoffed. "How exactly are you embarrassed?"

"I don't know. Aren't we all supposed to be connected in some bond of fellowship or something? What screws one, screws the other, all that?"

"So now you want to be a team player?"

"I've been on your team. Just because I'm a little unorthodox that doesn't mean I'm not with you guys."

"A little?" He asked incredulously.

"Don't start with me, Hirotaka."

"I am just implying that,"

"I'm a gaijin, I know." He could hear the hurt in her voice. When she next spoke, it was more somber. "I'm reminded of that wherever I go. Gaijin. It's such an ugly word. I wish it was purged from our vocabulary."

"Does it really bother you that much?"

"We live in a society of conformists, Hiro. Anyone who doesn't meet the status quo is laughed at and made fun of. Story of my life. Everywhere I go people can't stop pointing out my flaws. They're not flaws; they're just the things that make me different. But you do not be different. Not in Japan. Not at school where kids make fun of the way you talk or where teachers humiliate you in front of the class by asking you to play the role of the dumb foreigner in their history re-enactments. Guys thought I was hot until they spent some time with me. The more they did, the less hot I became. Soon it became uncool to hang with the 'foreign' girl. Oh we had exchange students from other countries. You can have blonde hair, blue eyes, freckles and a really deep voice but that was cool because it was expected of you. But if you were a half-breed like me…you don't belong anywhere."

Hiro bowed his head. "I'm sorry. I didn't know."

"How could you? You're the very image of the perfect Japanese man. You're hard-working, dedicated, reliable, educated, in good shape and your family has a long and prestigious history. Yori's a Japanese bombshell and the best student at her school. Life's a breeze for you two. Me? My life's full of torrential downpours and hurricane-force winds. No one ever likes me for me. Ever!" She sighed. "But my actions don't always give off the right impressions, do they?"

He didn't say anything.

"I'm sorry for attacking you back in Nagasaki. I guess I just wanted to show off and seeing you two there, Yamanouchi's best students, gave me the chance to prove I could run with the big dogs. I'm also sorry for getting you drunk. It's been a long time since I had anyone to hang out with. A really long time. I had to admit I had a lot of fun." She chuckled. "Even if it was at your expense."

Hiro smiled despite himself.

"Hiro?" She began hesitantly. "Do you hate me?"

Hiro was shaking his head even though he knew she could not see. "No."

"Do you mean it?" She inquired.

"I mean it, Hoshi. I don't hate you."

"You're not just saying that?"

"I admit you can be annoying at times. Not to mention loud, pompous, and downright aggravating. But as for hating you? Never." He smirked. "You're not worth it."

"Thanks…I think."

"You're welcome…I think."

He heard her snicker. The sound brought a smile to his face.

When the moment subsided, however, Hirotaka found himself reverting back to his sulking phase. "We still have to get out of here," He said. "Any ideas?"

"I'll let you know when I come up with something."

Minutes passed.

"Anything?" Asked Hiro.

"Nope."

He sighed.

"Wait a minute!" She piped.

"You got something?"

"I've got it!"

Hiro stood up. "What is it?"

"Where've you been?"

"What? I've been right here."

"You have? Since when?"

"Since…I don't know…wait, who are you talking to?"

He heard Hoshi say something he could not make out. More words followed. Was she talking to the walls? "Hoshi." Hiro knocked on the wall. "Hoshi!"

"Hold on a sec. What?"

"Who are you talking to?"

"I'm talking to IT."

"IT?" Then he remembered. "You mean your friend?"

"Doi!"

A big smile creased his face only to vanish soon after. "Hoshi, are you still wearing your earrings?"

"How else would I be talking to him?"

"You mean they didn't take them from you?"

"Guys never take earrings seriously. I never understand why."

He almost smacked himself. "You mean to tell me you could have called for help all this time and you've just been sitting around looking at the ceiling?"

"I tried, dumbass. But the signal wasn't getting through. IT hasn't called me back until now."

"Ask him if he knows where Yori is. For that matter, ask him where we are."

"Got it." Hoshi asked those same questions and came back with some very disturbing answers. "We're like a hundred feet below the surface of the city. Some kind of bunker built during the early twentieth century. There's a series of tunnels that connect it to the sewers. The rooms we're in looked like they were built for storage of some kind. It's been abandoned for years."

"What about Yori?"

"IT has been able to home on us thanks to my earrings. However, he has no idea where Yori is. She could be anywhere else in the bunker."

Hiro cursed. "Is there any information he can give that might help us escape?"

"He's working on it." Then she added. "But on the plus side, IT tells me that help is on the way."


Time seemed to stand still for Yori. She'd no idea how long she spent being tied to that chair with the lamp beating down on her with its excessive heat. Her head was so hot now that her vision swam. She could barely keep her eyes open let alone think of a way out of this. Her body was weak and she wanted some water.

Saito's words still lingered in her brain albeit jumbled. Whatever it was her grandfather knew, Saito must want it pretty badly if he's willing to go to such lengths just to get her. She was the key in all this. Least that was the impression she got from him. Saito was a very dangerous man. Yori had no delusions of him making her disappear forever – before he made her suffer that is.

Yori was strong. She could deal with her suffering. It's her friends she worried about and Saito knew this. The monster would probably torture them right in front of her to get her to do what he wants. Yori could not bear to see that. She could never willingly allow those she cared about to suffer on her behalf. If anyone was going to face the firing squad it would be her and no one else. Come what may, Yori would die if it meant Hoshi and Hirotaka could go free.

There was a loud clang as the iron door opened. Once again, the Yakuza guard took a look around before stepping aside for Saito. As they did before, the boss handed his hat to his underling who then obediently waited outside, closing the door behind him. Saito stood in front of Yori, his hands folded neatly upon his cane. Dazed as she was, Yori could feel his dark eyes bearing down upon her with intensity. Sweating, Yori raised her weary head. Once her eyes met his there was a moment of sheer apprehensiveness so strong that one would expect the room to explode at any moment.

"You look terrible, Yori," and that was all he had to say on it. "Have you given some thought on what we talked about?" He asked with the most stoic of expressions on his face.

Yori could not help but hate this man. She hated few people in her life but in just a short time, Saito had risen to become the vilest human being on the planet in her eyes. She could see the inhumanity in his eyes, the way his dark pools would attempt to suck you in as if stealing your soul. If there was evil in this world, Saito was its manifestation. She hated him…Yori hated him more than she hated anything in her life.

"I will ask you one…last…time. Yes or no?"

Either way she had no control of her fate. She could only do what was best and pick the lesser of two evils. So this is it, she thought. I am about to follow in my grandfather's footsteps and make a pact with the Devil.

"Alright," she said. "I will do as you ask."

Saito's face brightened. "Good! I knew you would see it my way sooner or later. Fortunately for your friends it was sooner rather than later." He bent over, putting his face inches from her own. "Now then. What say we move to more pleasant surroundings and we can discuss the finer details of your mission after we get you some clothes?"

"Water," she said, her throat parched.

Saito's smile grew wider. "I will get you your water, Ishimura-san. All the water you could ever want."


Thousands of miles away in a finely manicured suburb in the city of Middleton, Colorado, a certain redhead was woken up by the sound of her wristband going off.

Yawning, Kim Possible rubbed her tired eyes before reaching for the device on her night table. "Wade, it's three in the morning. I have class tomorrow."

The young African-American boy looked like he'd just got out of bed. There were dark circles under his eyes which meant whatever it was that got him out of bed had been as unwelcome as this interruption. "Sorry, Kim. But something urgent has just come up."

"Define urgent."

"Urgent enough that you and Ron need to be up and ready to go in fifteen minutes. That's when your ride should be there."

Grumbling, Kim sat up in bed. "What's this about?"

"It's a rescue mission, Kim. I just received an SOS from a friend of mine asking for Team Possible specifically."

"I didn't know you had friends, Wade."

"Funny. I'll wake up Ron so you can get ready. You can sleep on the plane."

Kim's eyebrows perked up. "Is it going to be a long trip?"

"Long enough for you to rest and be briefed. Pack your chopsticks, Kim. You're heading to Japan."



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